Monthly Archives: December 2014

Start the New Year off Right


As we start a new year we might feel encouraged to wipe the slate clean and start some new good practice or end a bad one – the proverbial “New Year’s Resolution.” This always sounds like a great idea and people start with good intentions but the vast majority of resolutions have been abandoned by the end of January.

I think the concept of a “resolution” is the first barrier to success. The idea that this word brings to mind for most people is that if you break your resolution just once, then you have failed so there is no point in continuing. A second problem with most New Year’s Resolutions is that we often set the bar too high.

Here’s a New Year’s Resolution everyone can get behind – 5 extra minutes of activity with your pet every day.

For dog owners this could take the form of a quick leash walk outside or a game of chase outside or even inside. For cat caregivers using a laser pointer or interactive toy works well. My own indoor cats have also enjoyed safe walks outside controlled by this comfy harness.

Just a little extra activity on a regular basis can improve the health of both your pet and you. Exercise burns off calories while you are doing it. In addition the resulting increase in muscle mass triggers your metabolism to continue to burn extra calories. Of course this applies to our pets as well.

Your pet’s health is in your hands (and feet). I invite you to take the momentum of the New Year and channel it into an activity that will benefit both you and your pet. Be gentle on yourself. Expect that it will not happen quite as you had hoped. If you forget for a day or 2, no big deal, just start over. Challenge yourself to see how many days in a row you can do it. This is a game you can play all year long until activity becomes a good habit for life.

Have a Happy New Year!

Do you have a better idea for a New Year’s Resolution?

Are there Pets in Heaven?


The holidays are a time to step back, reflect, and acknowledge the fact that there is an aspect of reality that is non-physical. A supernatural force of love exists and sometimes intervenes in our physical world. This holiday revelation is embodied in holistic medicine. According to the holistic philosophy, the individual must be cared for – body, mind, and spirit.

The spirit is the non-physical aspect of every living being. True health care must address the spiritual aspect of life because the spiritual aspect has an effect on the physical. Rigorous modern research proves the power of prayer and distant healing.

Am I suggesting that animals have souls? Do they go to heaven? My opinion is yes and yes! And I am not alone in this belief. Anyone who has ever really connected with a beloved pet has felt this spiritual bond for themselves. (Here’s a way to connect with your pet.)

Those dreamers among us are in good company. Just a couple of weeks ago the pope himself comforted a little boy who’s dog had passed away by telling him, “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.” This is quite a significant statement from the pope since it contradicts official Catholic Church doctrine. Sooner or later the truth must be told.

Billy Graham has weighed in on the idea of pets in heaven as well. He has written, “God will provide us with everything we need to be happy in Heaven — and if animals are necessary to make us completely happy there, then you can be confident He will arrange for them to be with us.” That makes sense to me.

In his recent book, Proof of Heaven, neurosurgeon Eben Alexander, M.D. actually documents his trip to heaven. Dr. Alexander had a near death experience when his brain became seriously infected with bacteria. Eben spent a week in a coma and on life support while his brain was literally being eaten away. Although his brain scans showed no activity, he had the experience of visiting spiritual realms. In this place that he came to know as heaven, there were dogs running and playing along with their people. (By the way, I highly recommend his book.)

But, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize we will meet our beloved pets again after they pass from this physical world.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Have you had any experiences that convinced you that a beloved pet lived on after their demise?

9 Reasons to Think Before You Spay/Neuter


Spaying and neutering involves the surgical removal of a pet’s ovaries (spay) and testicles (neuter). We have all been taught that this procedure helps thwart many health, behavioral, and population problems. Research is now refuting the health benefits and making the decision of if and when to spay/neuter much more difficult.

Here are 9 research studies to consider.

  1. A 2012 study concluded that sex hormones promote certain cancers and that the increased risk of mammary cancer in unspayed females is not scientifically proven.
  2. A 1999 study found that spayed females had 5 times more risk than unspayed female of developing a heart tumor while neutered males had a slightly increased risk over unneutered males.
  3. In 2002 research showed that neutered males were 4 times more likely to develop prostate cancer than intact males.
  4. More research in 2002, this time involving 683 Rottweilers found that those that were spayed/neutered were significantly more likely to develop bone cancer.
  5. A 2007 study found that neutered male dogs were much more likely to develop prostate and bladder cancer than unneutered males.
  6. In 2009, a study discovered that spayed females were more likely to develop lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes) than unspayed females.
  7. In 2013 research done on 759 Golden retrievers found that neutered males were 2 times more likely to have hip dysplasia than unneutered males. Also intact males and females in the study had no ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) ruptures while 5% of neutered males and 8% of spayed females did. Neutered males were 3 times more likely to contract lymphoma than unneutered males. Mast Cell Tumors were more common in spayed females than those that were intact. Hemangiosarcoma (cancer of blood vessels) was more common in spayed females than those that were unspayed.
  8. Just to muddy the water a little, a study of over 40,000 dogs in 2013 found that spayed/neutered dogs lived longer. In this study, spayed/neutered dogs lived on average 9.4 years while intact animals lived 7.9 years. Since this was looking at cases referred to a teaching hospital, the results may not reflect the “real world.” Also, the fact that spayed/neutered dogs lived longer may simply reflect that owners who have this procedure done take better care of their pets than those who do not have their pets fixed.
  9. Finally, a study of study of 2,505 Vizslas born between 1992 and 2008 was published in 2014 and found that spayed/neutered dogs were more likely to develop all cancers or behavior problems including fear of storms.

I AM NOT SAYING THAT YOU SHOULD NOT SPAY/NEUTER YOUR DOG. It can be difficult to manage an unspayed female as a male dog can smell a female in heat from 2 miles away. Unneutered male dogs often develop unwanted behaviors and also run off after females in heat. We live in a world were pet overpopulation is a huge problem. Millions of animals are killed at shelters every year because there are not enough loving homes. I would say that you might consider delaying the surgery until the animal is a year or 2 old if you can handle the responsibility of keeping them from reproducing.

What are your thoughts?